Apple to launch cloud music service, with backing of labels?

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Apple Logo GenericIs it playing catch up, or is it pushing the industry to change quickly? Apple’s much rumoured plans for their cloud-based music offering could be closer than you think, with a report suggesting that it has already one record label signed on, with two more nearing completion.

According to CNET, EMI Music is said to have completed the deal. Meanwhile, Sony Music and Universal Music are said to be nearing completion. However, what about Warner Music? Well, apparently, they already have a deal in place with Apple.

But with Google and Amazon both releasing their cloud-based offerings, without the backing of the big four labels, pressure has been mounting on Apple to release a competitor – especially after it bought a similar service, Lala, before it shut it down. It is most likely the technology it bought from Lala will be used in this new service.

While pressured, Apple’s attempt in making deals gives it a huge advantage over Google and Amazon – it can make any deals it wants with the big four, even as much as (though, most likely not or it will face a monopoly suit) exclusivity. Apple’s attempt could also be revolutionary, as such with its deals for the iTunes Music Store, and be able to move the industry in a new direction, away from their old tactics.

However, the big question is payment. Google and Amazon offer “locker”-type services, where you simply upload the tracks you want to listen to and then it will let you play it anywhere, sort of a hard drive hosted externally. Apple, however, could use a “scan and match” – which it did acquire from Lala – where your iTunes library will be scanned and will play the matching songs it has on it servers. The latter option saves you from uploading hundreds of hours of songs.

But, we’ll all have to wait and see.